One of the primary reasons why we Indians travel is food. We just love our food and would go to any extent to treat our palate with something it has never tasted. In the last installment of this piece, we took you through some of the best highway dhabas and restaurants in northern and eastern India. We are back with a brand new and handpicked list of highway eateries from the western and southern frontiers of our country.
In the second instalment of our tw-part series, here are some of the best places to eat while travelling in western and southern India.
Shree Datta Snacks, Pune-Mumbai Expressway
Regular commuters on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway can’t recall an instance when they have not stopped and pulled their cars over at Shree Datta Snacks for some good old munchies. This is undoubtedly the best place to satiate your hunger pangs when driving between the two metro cities. They serve a wide range of Marathi snacks including the evergreen vatata vada (with a spicy chutney), misal paav, pohe, kothimbir vada, sabudana vada and khichadi and the unmissable vada pav. Feeling hungry already? Us too! But wait, there’s so much more.
For dessert, we recommend their absolutely yummy kharvas, which can be had with a glass of refreshing buttermilk or their ever-popular kokum sharbat. The best part about this eatery is that you’ll have to collect your order in cardboard boxes instead of a plate, which gives you the option of carrying the snacks with you for the route, in case you are running late.
The second best part? They are conveniently located at the point where the Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Goa roads separate. So there’s no chance of missing this eatery. And the third best part is that they open at 7 am in the morning! Kinda perfect, right?
Hotel Deepak Deluxe, Mumbai-Goa Highway
They say don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, that notion holds true for restaurants too. Trust us, you don’t wish to make the mistake of judging a restaurant by its ambience when you come across Hotel Deepak Deluxe in Chiplun.
Located on the Mumbai-Goa Highway (NH-17), this restaurant serves scrumptious Malvani cuisine. For the uninformed, Malvani food is all about topnotch coastal seafood delicacies. From surmai fry to kekra vade and prawns masala, Hotel Deepak Deluxe will not disappoint you. The restaurant is best known for its variety of fresh fried fishes. Patrons still swear by this place. So would you once you have tasted their popular thali, which comes with a wide range of Konkan offerings. Also, the restaurant is right on the highway which makes it a perfect choice for that pitstop on your way to Goa..
Hotel Ummiya Annapurna, Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway
When in Gujarat, eat as the Gujaratis do. The Ummiya Annapurna is perhaps one of the best places to follow the adage and savour authentic Kathiyawadi cuisine. Their food is cooked in the traditional manner over a wood fire, which lends it a special rustic flavour. Located in Anand’s Chikhodra Chowkadi, the restaurant has been a favourite stop for Gujaratis who like their food to be a spicy affair. You’ll mostly find seasonal vegetables being served here along with bhakris (Kathiyawadi roti) cooked on a clay stove and tangy pickles on the side which work as great taste-makers. Their most popular specialities include sev-tamatar nu shaak, lassan aloo, besan gatta and rotla served with white jaggery and loads of ghee.
Kamath Lokaruchi Restaurant, Bangalore-Mysore Highway
This is one of the most spectacular routes that South India has to offer and what puts the cherry on the cake is the ever popular Kamath Lokaruchi restaurant. Located on the way from Bangalore to Mysore near Janapada Loka, this Manglorean-style restaurant draws food lovers from Bangalore and Mysore.
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For those driving further up to the beautiful hill stations of Ooty and Coonoor, it serves as a great way to kick-start their sojourn. Apart from the usual idli, dosa and vada, they serve ethnic cuisine from north, south and coastal Karnataka. Then there’s Konkan cuisine too, if that’s your thing. We highly recommend that you must go for their buffet but if you are looking for a quieter experience, you can always seat yourself in one of their separate huts and focus all your energies on the food.
Ahan Restaurant, Madurai-Rameshwaram Highway
Locals as well as tourists who have been to Rameshwaram would vouch for the fact that Ahan is the best restaurant in the holy town. Every dish they serve is cooked to perfection and the luxurious seating and cozy ambience makes the experience a memorable one. What sets Ahan apart from its counterparts is its varied menu. From south Indian regulars and north Indian to Jain and Chinese cuisine, the vegetarian restaurant has something to meet the needs of every traveller.
Haritam, Chennai-Pondicherry Highway
When travelling through Indian highways, all you need is a meal that’s filling and yet light on the stomach. Haritam is just the right place for food that’s both wholesome and nutritious. Serving mouthwatering south Indian delicacies, Haritam has been an all time favourite of people travelling to Pondicherry. They also serve great north Indian food. But it’s their Navadanya Tiffin that you must try. Prepared with millets, it consists of a generous serving of idli, pesarattu, poori, pongal and a sweet.
Any break on the highway in southern India is incomplete without some good filter coffee and Haritam has one of the best you’ll ever sip. With ample parking space and clean toilets, Haritam serves as an excellent place to take a well deserved break from the tiring drive.